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Every day we post 10 new Classical CD and DVD reviews. A free weekly summary is available by e-mail. MusicWeb is not a subscription site. To keep it free please purchase discs through our links.

  Classical Editor Rob Barnett    

A 169th GARLAND OF BRITISH LIGHT MUSIC COMPOSERS

A few more sweepings, first, from the pre-1914 light musical stage. Mark Strong, conducted and composed, jointly with the obscure Harry Wellman, the musical The Lily of Bermuda, toured in 1909. Interestingly, he published for piano solo the march pot-pourri, Marching Memories. Frank Stanmore, actor and theatrical manager and entrepreneur, apparently composed as well as he is credited with the music for Chasing Cynthia, toured in 1910. Finally in this group we have the name Ruggiero Leoncavallo, well known as the composer of I Pagliacci and-less so-of La Bohème. In 1913 he composed the score of the musical Are You There? - Edgar Wallace, no less, wrote the lyrics, so this is obviously one for 'Curiosity Corner'. A pity its run, 23 performances at the Prince of Wales Theatre, was an unmitigated disaster.

From roughly the same period let us now note Charles Marshall, the pianist in the orchestra at the Queenís Hotel, Leicester Square in the first decade of the 20th Century (conducted by Lorenzo Barbirolli, father of John). His ballad type songs included I Hear You Calling Me (c. 1908), much the most popular of them, When Shadows Gather, A Childís Song, Dear Love Remember Me, The Garden of Allah, I Am Longing For You, I Dream That I Hear You Singing, The Sea and Sympathy.

Our mention this time for present-day TV composers is for John Cook, whose attractive music is to be heard in a variety of screened programmes.

Returning for our final paragraph to the theatre, we focus on the post-1914 period. Kenneth Morrison was responsible for Lucky Miss Chance (1913) and the "musical mirth quake in four shakes", Miss Sauce of Worcester (1915), neither of which made the West End. I am not sure whether this is the same Kenneth Morrison who wrote music for the radio feature Dick Barton in 1946 (not the title music, which was by Charles Williams). Another query, now. Was T. Pope Arkell, who wrote the score for The Idol of Kano, toured in 1915, related to Reginald Arkell who wrote lyrics and books for various shows, notably 1066 and All That, some years later? Georges Dorlay, despite his French sounding name, appears to be English and certainly he was associated with the English stage as conductor, and also composer, of shows like the childrenís revue Make Believe, which had words by A.A. Milne and which achieved publication by Samuel French in 1925, and the musical Oh Donít Dally, which managed 36 outings at the Criterion in 1919. George Henry Martin made it twice on the light musical stage with Monte Cristo Junior, whose hit number was Iím A Jolly Little Chap All Round and Rosette, toured provincially in 1918. And two "singletons" and fairly obscure ones, both from 1921, were Leslie Alleyne, with French Beans and T Vaughan Laurton with A Manchu Maid.

Philip L Scowcroft

Enquiries to Philip at

8 Rowan Mount

DONCASTER

S YORKS DN2 5PJ

Philip's book 'British Light Music Composers' (ISBN 0903413 88 4) is currently out of print.

E-mail enquiries (but NOT orders) can be directed to Rob Barnett at rob.barnett1@btinternet.com


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